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Smoked Shrimp Boil

I know what you’re thinking. “Hold on. Smoke?…Boil? How exactly does that work out?” I’m glad you asked. We’re not actually going to be boiling the shrimp. We’re going to be smoking it. The change-up comes in the spices we will use. Follow along with me as we make a smoked treat that is as fit for the bayou as it is for the ranch.


The prep

Start by gathering your ingredients and setting up for your smoke. The wood I suggest for our smoke today is apple, or another fruit wood. It’s going to give you a mild smoky flavor that won’t be overbearing. It will allow all the natural flavors of the shrimp to shine through and allow room for the spices to let their presence be known.


What you’ll need for the dish:


  • About 2 lbs of shrimp
  • Old bay seasoning – ¼ cup
  • Paprika – ½ cup
  • Brown sugar – ¼ cup
  • Salt – 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper – 1 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper – 1.5 tsp
  • Onion powder – 1.5 tsp
  • Garlic powder – 2 tbsp
  • Cilantro (chopped very fine) – 2 tbsp
  • 2 whole lemons (or 4 limes if you prefer)
  • Unsalted butter – At least ½ cup, but may require up to 1 cup
  • Wooden shrimp skewers (if your shrimp are large enough)


We’ll start by combining our dry ingredients for the rub. Add all the spices and sugar together and mix them in a large mixing bowl. Then, add the chopped cilantro. Now make sure to mix thoroughly. Next, melt the butter into a microwaveable safe bowl and stage it next to the rub container.


We don’t want the butter extremely hot, just above lukewarm. After you’ve peeled all your shrimp, place them into the butter and apply a thin but fully covering coat. Then, place the shrimp quickly into the rub. Be sure to once again coat thoroughly, even pressing the rub into the shrimp so as to create as much coverage as possible.


Once this is complete, set the shrimp into the fridge and let stand for an hour. While your shrimp is marinating, get your smoker ready. We want a smoker temperature between 220 and 230 degrees. Once our shrimp has marinated in the fridge and our smoker is at temperature, place the shrimp on the skewers so that the skewers enter the shrimp just above the tail, exits, then enters the shrimp just above the head, and then exits again. This will ensure that your shrimp don’t fall off the skewer.

The cook

Place your shrimp on the rack of your smoker and set a timer for 25-35 minutes. This should be as long as it takes for the shrimp to smoke at this temperature. You’re looking for a shrimp that is opaque. In other words, you can no longer see through the meat.


Once the shrimp have reached perfection, remove them onto a plate and cut the lemon or lime into halves. Drizzle a small amount of the citrus juice onto the shrimp, but not too much. Now you’re ready to enjoy some marvelous Shrimp Boil Barbecue!

Final thoughts

This recipe conjures flavors that both the bayou dweller and the pitmaster can appreciate. I hope these shrimps please your taste buds and if they did, be sure to share this article via social media with your family and friends. As always, my goal has been to inform, illuminate, and inspire. Please remember to stop in at for more recipes, tips, and reviews of all things barbecue. Have a great day!

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